Discovering your personal vision starts with understanding who God has created you to be, and what he has called you to do.
King David writes in Psalm 139:13-14,
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
A closer look at the original Hebrew text for this passage tells us that we are created with great reverence, heart-felt interest, and respect. We are unique, set apart, and marvelous in God’s eyes. The Apostle Paul writes:
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God has prepared beforehand that we should walk in them (Eph. 2:10).
Not only are we uniquely made, but God has created and equipped each of us to do something very special. Our salvation is not just a bus ticket to heaven, but an invitation to participate in God’s redemptive plan to rescue humanity and the physical universe.
The Purpose of Personal Vision
Discovering your personal vision helps you understand who you are in Christ, your talents, and your comparative advantages. It helps you know how to create the greatest value for yourself, your family, your church, your community and your work for the glory of God. A personal vision should do many things, including:
- Motivate us
- Give us great purpose
- Give us direction
- Be something that matters to us
- Lead us to the right strategy
- Serve our own needs and the common good
Our personal vision is the clearest description of our calling, what God has made us to do in this life. It should constantly remind us of the unique way in which God has chosen us to fit into his great plan of redemption.
In fact, one of the great joys of being a Christian is that you have the confidence of knowing that you personally fit into this great plan. While the specifics of our lives and callings may vary, we share a common purpose: to bring the principles of God’s kingdom to bear in every area of life. Our personal vision ties us to this common scriptural goal.
Unfortunately, many Christians live lives devoid of a personal vision, or embrace one given to them by the culture—one that is incompatible with the call God has placed on their lives.
Without a vision from God we perish, as Proverbs 29:18 points out. We become fatigued in our walk with God and we become demoralized, living with no sense of purpose.
George Barna defines “vision” as:
…the clear mental image of a preferable future imparted by God to his chosen servants based upon an accurate understanding of God, self, and circumstances.
Additionally, Merriam-Webster defines “calling” as:
…a strong inner impulse toward a particular course of action especially when accompanied by conviction of divine influence.
Given these two definitions, we can begin to see why it is so important for us to discover our calling, or personal vision.
How Do You Discover Your Personal Vision?
It is important to remember that jobs and careers come and go. Your calling—your God-appointed mission in life—stays constant throughout your life because it is a reflection of who God has made you to be.
Our calling is the expression of our personalities and our gifts in a unique, given direction. In seeking to discover our personal vision, we must realize that God created us with many characteristics, desires, and talents. Instead of embracing the world’s maxim, “You are what you do,” we are to understand God’s calling to say, “Do what you are.”
Here are five areas in which you can find clues that will help you discover your personal vision:
- Personality: Understand your God-given personality, because it defines the real you. There are many tests like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® that will give you great insight into your personality.
- Strengths and gifts: Take a test like StrengthsFinder to help you more clearly identify your strengths and gifts.
- Passions: Sit down and make a list of the things you are really passionate about.
- Life verse: Is there one verse in the scriptures that so strongly resonates with you that you would call it your life verse?
- Life history: As you look back through your life, even your childhood, are there things that you were really good at and sincerely enjoyed doing? Share these stories with others who can help you discern a common thread.
As you prayerfully consider these five areas, a picture of who God has made you to be will begin to emerge. This picture may be fuzzy at first, but it will begin to give you a foundation on which you can create a meaningful personal vision for your life. It’s also important to work through these five areas in community. Your friends, family, and church can help you see your personality, your strengths and gifts, and other aspects of yourself you might not see at first.
Our world is governed by God, and so is your life. You are the work of his hands. The only way your life will have true meaning is when you engage God’s world the way that he designed you to. Early in Tolkien’s Fellowship of the Ring, Gandalf tells Frodo,
All you have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to you.
And so it is with each of us.
Editor’s note: Go deeper to discover your calling in Understanding God’s Calling, an in-depth course designed for high school students but suitable for adults!
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